I have been spending too much time at pharyngula. There is a vast amount being said on the topic of atheists, evolutionists, Darwinists, liberals….
It seems that many religious folks want to equate atheism with religion, and appear to be trying to insult atheists in the process, which seems odd coming from a religious person. I would have thought they would want to distance themselves from the “heathen” atheists
So what do atheists believe?
The short answer: nothing.
The long answer: believe is the wrong word to describe how **atheists think.
Believe implies one is being presented with something as a fait accompli, and there is no need to examine this something.
Atheists don’t believe in god(s). They don’t not believe in them. They just have no evidence that directly supports the existence of any god, so they have no reason to think they exist.
Scripture is inadmissible as evidence, because it involves, essentially, taking somebody’s word for it. Or, if you will, taking the Word for it. Atheists like something they can replicate. There’s a reason so many people in the sciences are atheists.
Creation is not admissible as evidence, because several alternative theories exist to explain creation besides the one presented in the scriptures. Several of these theories have significantly more evidence than does a creator. This is evidence available to anyone who wants to access it.
Atheists are often portrayed as “believing in” evolution. Atheists don’t believe in evolution: we accept it as a theory, or set of theories. In theory.
In fact, it is a theory with an overwhelming amount of evidence behind it. So much that without major new discoveries pointing in a radically different direction, there is no viable alternative theory.
If these discoveries were to happen, it would seriously surprise people, but they would well be able to carry on being both scientists and atheists, because major changes in scientific theory are what makes science thrive.
Consider the idea of blood circulation: once upon a time, it was thought that blood was inside the skin, just sort of sloshing about.
Then blood vessels were discovered, and the role of the heart in circulation was considered. Then it was thought blood came from the heart and was pumped everywhere, then left the arteries and just sort of sloshed around until it got back to the veins and came back to the heart. It was only on the discovery of closed capillary beds which brought blood from the arteries through the tissues and back to the veins that the idea of blood just sloshing about under the skin was properly abandoned.
The nature of science is to look for evidence that supports or falsifies various theories with no other meanings.
The nature of the atheist is to examine the evidence and decide whether it is sufficiently compelling.
Personally, I would love to believe in a benevolent or even a wrathful supreme being who would sort out the ills of the world and protect the deserving. I just don’t have enough evidence to accept it as a viable theory.
And believe me, I have looked.
**Atheists: by that I mean, in general, not to a man.